Thanks to massive publicity about the subject, computer users are now widely
concerned that their machines might be infected with "spyware" programs. These
applications monitor users’ activities and perhaps transmit to a hacker the
users’ passwords and other confidential
information. But many Web sites that claim to “scan your computer” to detect
spyware are, in fact, spreading spyware themselves.
The Mozilla Foundation, the group responsible for developing the Firefox browser
and many other applications, released Firefox 1.0.1, a security upgrade for
Firefox 1.0, on Feb. 24. Firefox’s "check for updates" feature was
then enabled the foundation several days later on
It’s bad enough that adware, which can have negative effects on our PCs,
has already infected
an astonishing number of machines — 80% in one U.S.
study. Now, on top of everything else,
adware makers are pressuring anti-adware advocates to stop listing their
programs as candidates for removal.
My article in the Jan. 27 newsletter on anti-adware and antispyware generated a wave of responses from our
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
That’s why I believe we have a hope of correcting the terrible mess that Windows
users are facing from constant patching to combat viruses, spam, and identity
Sometimes described as the best-kept secret on the Internet, the IMAP
e-mail protocol might more accurately be thought of as “Exchange Server for the
rest of us.”
It’s not so long ago that we learned to master the Windows Registry, a buzzing
hive of little-known configuration settings. Now we find that Firefox 1.0,
the hot new browser released on Nov. 9 by the Mozilla Foundation, has its
own hidden playground for us to tweak.
Microsoft’s recent release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP protects
XP users against a variety of hacker attacks, particularly ones that affect
Internet Explorer. SP2 prevents IE users from being subjected
to pop-up windows and silent downloads of software from rogue Web sites, among
To defend your PC against unwanted pop-ups and other security threats
that propagate on the Internet, your best bet is to install a
Web browser other than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Brian and I
recommend the excellent Mozilla Firefox, which has been the subject of previous
columns by both myself and
Brian. We’ll have a complete review of Firefox in the
Windows Secrets Newsletter after the 1.0 Gold version of the new browser is
released, which is expected on Nov. 9.
We’re well known for advocating the installation of Service Pack 2
(SP2) for Windows XP because of the upgrade’s many security-related
enhancements. (Our most recent articles on installing SP2, including coverage
of some glitches that you might encounter, were in the
and Sept. 9
issues of the Windows Secrets Newsletter.)